The dramatic high mountain peaks and ridges of Glen Coe show clear evidence of sculpting by glaciers. But it's not just ice that shaped this landscape; the road through the glen cuts right through the remains of an ancient volcano.
The Geotrail guide helps you understand more about Glen Coe's fiery past as it takes you on a journey through the glen to see significant features. All the places described in the guide can be seen from the main road on a journey through Glen Coe from the west.
The six stopping points on the geotrail help to explain the forces that have shaped the glen we see today.
1. An Tor car park - Pàirc-chàraichean an Toir
Stop at this car park for a good view of Clachaig Gully - this gully marks the line of a fault where the rocks on either side once slid past each other. You can also see folded metamorphic rocks (quartzites and limestones). These rocks were once sands and silts at the bottom of an ancient sea.
You're now inside the ancient caldera of the Glen Coe volcano. The lower part of Aonach Dubh mountain is made up of dark sills and lavas, but an obvious ledge marks the start of a different group of volcanic rocks. These lighter rocks are associated with explosive eruptions and are a distinctive orange-brown colour.
3. The Three Sisters - Na Trì Peathraichean
Stop at a popular viewpoint to see the 'Three Sisters' of Glen Coe - Beinn Fhada, Gearr Aonach and Aonach Dubh mountains. The orangey-brown colour of lava is noticeable on the hillsides of these famous peaks. High on the hillside of Aonach Dubh, the vertical black dash known as Ossian's Cave, shows where a huge block has fallen out of a volcanic dyke.
4. Waterfall lay-by - Àite-paircaidh an easa
A close-up look at the rocks of this scenic viewpoint 1km further up the glen reveals distinctive banding in the stone, which must have been present in the original lava.
5. Old road through the glen - An t-seann rathad tron ghleann
Park at a lay-by and follwo the grassy track leading through the glen on the original road. A walk of just over 1km takes you to a rocky outcrop known as 'The Study'. From here you can enjoy fantastic views back down the glen and see the Three Sisters lined up. From this view it's easy to imagine how glaciers scraped and shaped the glen as they flowed down.
6. The top of Glen Coe - Mullach Gleann Comhann
Travel to the highest point in the glen to see good views of Buachaille Eite Beag (little shepherd of Etive) and Buachaille Eite Mor (big shepherd of Etive). Both mountains show clear evidence of their volcanic origins.